This week, we have a great post from SomeMother. She’s a Canadian spitfire Mom and keeps me going with her posts.
Hi there! Somemother guest posting for your reading pleasure! Normally, I can be found at www.somemother.com where every post features mothers from all over the world answering the same 20 questions – every contribution features its own bit of awesome! I hope you check it out!
My world is quite different from 4Hats&Frugal. I live in western Canada in a large city… I am mom to 3 children, 6 and 3 year-old girls and a 16 month-old boy. In Canada, maternity leave is a full year – we are so blessed! I am fortunate to work for the federal government and have some additional leave options… So, when my son turned 1 and we decided I would continue to stay home with the kids, taking an indefinite leave of absence from work, we had to make some changes… There are many excellent resources on frugal living, smart shopping, and budget savers, and I am a work in progress!! But, given that we are approaching our first holiday season with mama at home, I present to you our top ten new Christmas traditions!
1. Oh how I love thee Pinterest. While largely a fun place to plan imaginary food, fashion and home décor, it is also a treasure-trove of affordable, DOABLE unique craft and gift ideas. I have been occupying my kids with crafts and activities several times during the week, and we are gifting their creations to friends, neighbours, and teachers. WIN WIN. Find me here to see what I’m up to: http://pinterest.com/emelvee/
2. Now that the snow has fallen, Canada’s winter playground is ready to be enjoyed. We are building a back-yard ice rink! It has been relatively inexpensive to construct and has become a labour of love for my husband. The kids are eagerly awaiting cold enough weather to flood the surface and start skating (yes, it is TOO WARM so far – even in the Canadian North!). We will also be sledding down our community hills and using the nearby trails to cross country ski (all second-hand equipment).
3. I am so tempted by all the beautiful Christmas decorations and could easily spend a fortune refreshing our holiday décor. However, I have resisted! I’m not Martha Stewart and I can’t have nice things anyway, the kids can and will destroy anything I treasure. So, my collection of mismatched yet completely signature seasonal decorations are out and the only thing I purchased? Candles from Bath & Body Works, cuz they’re the best, they smell great, they last forever, and I got a hot deal (2 for $25!!) I feel like the house has something “new” and that’s the feeling I was after anyway!
4. Cookies……mmmm…….. Christmas baking is an essential part of the season, bringing back tantalizing memories of my childhood goodie table (a table covered with treats and cookies for WEEKS). However, my kids take after their dad, and they tire of treats. (I know, I don’t get it either.) And, this mama is still mistaken as pregnant for those brave or stupid enough to ask. COME ON PEOPLE. Suffice it to say, I decided to participate in a cookie exchange with a group of friends and that should more than supply our sweet tooth with a variety of special holiday treats. And my friends and I are giggling over the nuts and balls we’re preparing. We are so 12.
5. Three kids getting and receiving gifts from family and friends for birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions means A LOT OF STUFF. TOO MUCH STUFF. Yet I don’t think my kids are unusually greedy or self-centered for LOVING PRESENTS. This is hardly a revelation for many I’m sure, but we decided on a single gift from Santa per child, and for 2 of 3, we purchased on kijiji. SCORE. We are also enjoying some homemade advent activities and our Elf on a Shelf, Stanley, to build Christmas excitement. (I filled our daily advent calendar with leftover Halloween treats. Genius, no? No buying cheap yucky chocolate calendars!)
6. I must admit, mommy loves presents too. But, did I mention our hot water heater went a couple of weeks ago? And that I accidentally smucked our van? Mmmhmm. Buh-bye gift I was dreaming of. We decided to forego gifts this year. My cup runneth over already, really. And, getting to stay home with my children is gift enough. For realz. I have learned to appreciate my time with them, as I know many mamas wish they were home.
7. The truth is, my extended family is very broken this year. Most of our traditions for gathering and celebrating are likely…….not…….happening. My heart is so heavy with pain and loss. But…… I am focusing on the joy, hope, and wonder in my children’s eyes and the promise of the birth of Christ… We are part of a wonderful church and will be enjoying the candlelight Christmas Eve service as we have for years. The new part of this tradition? That in Him, it is sufficient. We are really feeling that this year. I know the “reason for the season” means different things to different people, but honing in on peace is universal!
8. Back in the Fall when most kids around here began their rigorous schedule of extracurricular activities, we made the decision to register the girls in an inexpensive weekly program through our church and also our older daughter is trying out Girl Guides. This seemed like a program that focused on the values we hoped to cultivate. I also do a weekly “Mommy Drama Class” with my kids… I searched the net and talked to some friends for ideas. We play games and sing songs to learn skills in communication, movement, improvisation, and expression. They call me “Miss Mommy,” raise their hands, and enjoy being the students to my teacher! We are performing a little-known Christmas song (This Same Baby) and our version of reader’s theatre (Grumpy Santa Gregg). We are not getting tickets to any concerts or events around town, but cannot wait to debut our efforts for grandparents. The resulting video will be a priceless gift!
9. I actually have almost all the elements for our Christmas dinner already! I bought the turkey post-Thanksgiving (in October in Canada), have a huge sack of farmer’s market potatoes, frozen sides and fixings, and ingredients to make fresh bread and other deliciousness. Normally, I am scrambling last minute and spending too much on groceries and impulse buys. This year will be a very relaxed but amazing meal.
10. I actually do not have a #10 but wanted to thank you for reading, Amiyrah for inviting me to share, and wish you all a wonderful Christmas! Each year brings blessings and trials and I hope you make the most of 2012!