Month: December 2008

Aww…tales of Christmas past

 - by emaroo

It is hard to believe that Christmas is over already.  I have to say that I think this year was the most fun I have had in a very long time.  Jack really “got” Santa and was excited to see the present he would bring.  I have to admit I did play up the “you need to be a good boy and make good choices so Santa will bring you a present” bit too much.  What do I do now?  Start playing up the Easter bunny?  Hmm…Oh well, he still really liked the build up.

We hosted Christmas morning with my family this year.  It was a lot of work getting everything ready, but well worth it.  It made the whole day a lot smoother since we didn’t have to trek all over town and risk a very grumpy and sleepy Jack.  He does have a killer cold, so that made him grumpy enough.  In the evening we went over to Alan’s parents house to indulge even more.  Jack was NOT forgotten by the gift gods! Man…the loot.  I am almost embarrassed!  ;)  I want to take some of it and put it away for a few months so he has “new” toys later.  He received a fire truck that is almost bigger than he is…I think that is going in the garage for a while until it is warmer and he can play with it outdoors.

Sadly…waiting until it is “warmer” in Texas just means waiting about a day.  Today I left the house in short sleeves and capri pants…on DEC. 26!  Crazy!  Of course it will be in the 30′s again come Sunday.  Regardless…I think we need to grow into that toy.  It will make a great early spring gift when Mommy and Daddy are too broke to buy new toys since we will be so focused on all things baby.

Here are some pics (of course) of our wonderful Christmas.  I pray that you all were able to share wonderful time with your family as well and remember that despite all the gifts and batteries…we celebrate a miracle this season…the birth of our Savior.  Keep that miracle in your heart all year and spread that love to all that you meet.

Christmas Eve…finally all the presents are wrapped and “Santa” dropped off Jack’s special gift.

Jack discovering his Santa gift…

Family of 4!

Monster Firetruck!  The thing even spits water out.  Hunter was having fun making the lights and sirens go off with the remote and Jack not understanding what was happening.  Such a sneak!!

Cousins

Silly Mama with her daughters

Go a year without buying anything new…another challenge

 - by emaroo

http://features.csmonitor.com/backstory/2008/12/10/colorado-couple-tries-to-go-a-year-without-buying-anything-new/

So, after I told Alan all about the blog I found (see previous post) he found the above article about not buying anything new.  This one is really do-able if you think about it.  Sure, it would take more planning as to where you would buy certain things…but how much new stuff do we really NEED to be bringing into our homes other than food, toiletires, underwear etc (and in my case shoes…I CANNOT wear another person’s shoes!)  I have worn secondhand clothing my whole life…so what!  In fact the shirt I have on right this second was given to me by Jack’s sitter and I am super grateful because I didn’t have a lot of maternity clothes that fit since my size and the seasons were so different with Jack. 

Hmmm…I think I am seriously going to see how well I can do with something like this.  At least for the kids…it is a no brainer.  There are so many freaking kids clothes out there in consignment stores that have barely been worn.  I have already been offered tons of girl’s clothes if we find out we are having a baby girl…so that is covered. 

Yay…I am excited.  Finding ways to save money really gets me more excited than is really natural! haha!

I have already started researching how to plant a garden next Spring.  Like I won’t have enough to worry about next Spring. 

Eating on one dollar a day…could you?

 - by emaroo

So I just noticed this blog: http://onedollardietproject.wordpress.com/. I have just started reading over it but had to stop and write about it.  I am fascinated with this idea of trying to eat HEALTHY and still eat on a VERY tight budget.  I have never understood why being poor seemed to mean eating crap.  You go to any discount grocer and it is hard to find true healthy foods.  All you find are processed, fattening, sodium filled crap.  No, just because I am broke doesn’t mean my kids have to survive on crap.

Anyway, so as I read further into the blog I was taken back to my childhood.  As many of you know, my dad raised my sister and I on a vegetarian/macrobiotic diet.  It basically consisted of grains and seasonal fruits and vegetables.  We were allowed no sugar at all (imagine what our birthday cakes were like).   I will be frank…we were poor…very poor, but we always had food…and it wasn’t crap.  I teach so many poor kids these days…underprivileged, disadvantaged, whatever you want to call them…they are poor and they eat crap.  It just burns me up.  I know that they could spend a fraction of the money and eat a nutritious, well balanced diet.

It became clear very early on in my relationship with Alan that I had “different” ideas about a lot of things…but he seemed to be very open to them.  One of them was the fact that there would, at all times, be a stash of dried pinto beans and short grain brown rice in the house.  Because I needed to know, no matter how hard it got, how broke we got, we could eat…my dad taught me that.  Granted Alan and I are very rich in many ways.  If we have ever struggled financially it is our own fault…but we have been broke.  We don’t make a lot of money at all (by society’s standards), but we have still been very blessed.  If one of us lost or quit our job, it would be very hard around here, financially…but we would eat!  I am so glad that I read this today.  I really needed a reminder and a little emotional boost by God to show me that our life is great and we are so totally blessed and rich.

Can’t shut him up…

 - by emaroo

Jack’s newest sentences are:

“Charlie’s got no food”  (Alan wanted me to add that Charlie is our cat…I hate it when he edits over my shoulder)

“Daddy’s in the potty”

And when Alan asked him where the train was he responded with “It’s in the other room”

Oh, and he can now spell and read the work “clock”.

Scary Legislation that will affect small businesses and crafts people

 - by emaroo

OK, this is Emily getting on her bandwagon – but this is really important.  No, this is not a hoax; I have researched the dickens out of this, and as you can read in the sources below it is true … and frightening.  New legislation is slated to take effect in February that will dangerously affect all small businesses in this country that make and/or sell handmade toys, children’s clothing, blankets, cloth diapers, and more.  It will even have an impact on any of you that prefer to buy handmade items and support craftspeople – simply because those items will mostly no longer be available.

As of February 10, 2009, ALL items sold in the United States that are meant for children 12 years and younger will be required to have third-party lead testing done by the manufacturer. This sounds great in theory, since we all want to protect our children. This law will only force small businesses to close (or operate illegally), when the problem lies with large companies making cheap items in foreign countries.

DO YOU BUY THESE ITEMS, OR VALUE THE ABILITY TO BUY THEM?
Then you need to e-mail or write your representatives today. If this legislation is not changed to offer some sort of clarification regarding handcrafting businesses in the US, then many if not most of the items I’ve discussed will no longer be available. No more wood cars crafted by a retired grandpa; no more children’s handmade clothing and cloth diapers on Hyena Cart; not to mention Etsy and other sites that encourage us to buy handmade. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but if I had to choose between a handmade item made by a work-at-home mom versus a “certified lead-free” item made in China and sold at Target, I’d choose the former.

DO YOU MAKE OR SELL THESE ITEMS?
If you own a small home-based business crafting these items, these requirements fall on YOU. You will be required to test each and every component of your items for sale, and label them with a batch number and date of manufacture.  This includes thread, buttons, fabric, etc.  If you do not comply, you will be in violation of federal law and could be subject to fines up to $100,000 PER ITEM – and even jail time. Any children’s items made before this date that are not tested and certified lead-free are considered banned hazardous waste and cannot be sold after February 10, 2009. Even if you use materials such as fabric that were tested by their manufacturer not to contain lead, you must still have third-party testing done. This is obviously not an option for most artisan businesses!

Please call or write your representatives regarding the new CPSIA legislation *that has already passed* and will be put into effect in February without any thought for the ‘little guys’.

We must act soon and get some changes made, or February 10 could mean the end of the “Buy Handmade” movement! Stand up for small businesses everywhere as this legislation affects each and every one of us, our businesses, our children and even our economy. Let your representatives know that as much as we value keeping our children safe by testing items for lead, this is the WRONG way to accomplish that.

I encourage you to read over the links below.

Contact your local representative via this link:

https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

You can read more about the CPSIA legislation at:

http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/cpsia.html

http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/

http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/

http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/cpsia-what-must-be-tested/

http://www.toyassociation.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=CPSIA&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=290&ContentID=6275

Sorry for the mass e-mail, but I feel it’s very important that more people know about this.

Thanks!

Emily

Oh Drats! I mean…RATS!

 - by emaroo

I am so totally creeped out!!!!  My fellow art teacher, Kelly, came into my room today asking if I wanted to see something “disturbing”.  Knowing better than to trust him immediately, I asked if it would get either of us fired.  After he assured me it wouldn’t I followed him into one of our storage rooms where we had been keeping some of our students’ oil paintings.  Oil paint takes a long time to dry so even though they had been sitting out for over a week, they were still wet.  He told me that one girl had come in to get her painting and noticed several marks and gouges in her paint.  She was very puzzled, of course.  A few minutes later a boy came to Kelly and pointed out all these pink speckles all over his painting.  Still perplexed Kelly looked at the counter where they had been sitting and noticed more pink “speckles”.  After further review…the pink speckles were PAW PRINTS!!!  They were huge too!  Well, huge for a rodent.  We decided that a rat must have gotten in the building over Thanksgiving and since our trash was NOT emptied (ugh!) they wet on the prowl.

We decided to name him Van Gogh because of his love for eating oil paints.

Here is the original pink painting (I LOVE it, by the way!)

Clue #1 If you look closely in the middle you will see the marks that first got this student wondering what had happened to her painting.

Clue #2…pink speckles all over this painting that was sitting near it.

Clue #3…unmistakable paw prints on the counter.

YUCKIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  To make matters worse when my principal was walking down the hall, I wanted to show him.  Before he picked up the pink painting I warned him that it was wet and what happens, but he gets pink oil paint on his very expensive sweater!  Oil paint does NOT come out.  I am not sure if I bumped him or he bumped the painting…oops!

So, now I have to be on guard all the time.  I am getting sick just thinking about it!!