An Out of Stock Horse and Good Gifts

My daughters LOVE Christmas!  They start making lists in August and they look forward to the holidays with GREAT anticipation.




We don’t buy a lot of gifts.  We do birthday celebrations and big (to us) Christmas celebrations.  Other than a few small things sprinkled in here and there, this is the only times that we give gifts.  They do earn chore money so that they can buy themselves things that they see but it takes quite a while to earn enough for big things.   Other than that, we take a quick photo of the items that they see and wish for and tell them we will “put it on their list.”  I am so thankful that they are not spoiled or demanding.

So the holidays are very exciting for them!  They are also exciting for my husband and I because we love to give them gifts.

My ten year old started making her list (seriously) two weeks ago.  She’s been playing around with MS word so her list includes pictures and prices of her items this year!  Ha!  She wants to make sure that there is no mistaking what she wants.  Smart girl!

She fell in love with a Clydesdale horse from the Our Generation doll collection.  These horses can normally be found at Target for $45.  Except for this particular horse because he was part of last year’s holiday collection.  So…..now he can be found on Ebay for about $100.

Now this is my frugal minded child who decided that she wouldn’t ask for an American Girl because she could get an Our Generation for about 1/5 of the price.  But she searched and searched out this horse from every source possible.  She realized that he was very expensive and more than once I caught her at the computer with misty eyes while she processed that she might not be getting this one particular horse.

I told my husband and we did a little searching of our own and found him for $75 through a third party vendor with Walmart.  Ahhh….he arrived yesterday and I just can’t wait to see her open him on Christmas morning.

I started thinking about this gift…..this $75 piece of plastic that my daughter will delight over for such a brief time.  That’s not why I bought the horse.   We know that her desire to play with him will be short lived in the big picture. I bought him because I love the girl that desired the horse and I want to give her good gifts.

In a much greater way, this reminded me of God’s love.  The Bible tells us that he loves to give us good gifts.  It is hard for me to process that He loves us more than I love my children, yet I know it’s true.  Thank you, Lord, for delighting in us and giving us your good and perfect gifts!

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

 

 

 

DIY Ice Cream Party

I Scream, You Scream.  We all scream because birthday parties are so expensive!




Ahhh….that’s not the ending you’ve heard before? 😉

But seriously.  Birthday parties can be so expensive.

I was able to pull off an ice cream birthday party for my ten year old for very little money.

I started by making her birthday cake.  It has become the tradition that I make the birthday cakes for my family.  I used this tutorial to get an idea for how to make this ice cream cone cake.  I was a little rushed and I had a few helpers in the kitchen but it turned out just how she imagined.

We found ice cream cone bubbles in a three pack for $1 at Dollar Tree!  Score!  They were perfect party favors.

We found the birthday banner and the stickers for the party at Dirt Cheap!  What a great find!  I simply let her put the stickers on folded posterboard and wah-la, we had a sign!

I bought coordinating plates and napkins at Dollar Tree.  I NEVER buy party plates anywhere else.   I also found the cups for the ice cream toppings there.

The blue spoons were from our free ice-cream swirls that we got all summer long at our local Race-Trac!

I went into the yard and cut a few branches of magnolia,crepe myrtle and boxwood and stuck them into a farmhouse pitcher for a table decoration.

And there you have it……our ice cream party on the cheap!

What are your best tips for saving money and still pulling off an extra special, special day?

 

Go Outside to Play

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Have my children played outside today?

Recent studies like this one show that our children are spending more and more time in front of screens.  I’m sure this doesn’t surprise any of us.  We see it all around us, possibly in our own home.  Maybe it’s hard for us to admit that we would surpass those numbers ourselves.

Today, I read this article about the need to reinstate play for healthy kids. I took a trip down memory lane as the author described how she would play as a child.  I could NOT agree more about the importance of outside time and it rekindled my desire to model and monitor this important part of our day.

We are believers in going outside to play.  I was raised in the country and we played outside for hours.  I’ve passed that on to my kids and they know that I believe that we need to spend some time outside every day.  If they forget it,  I remind them! 😉  I am not naive enough to think that, if allowed, my children wouldn’t sink into the couch cushions with a bowl of cereal and stay for days.  But for right now, we are playing outside and enjoying it!

 

If they run out of ideas, I can give suggestions and let their little imaginations soar.  They do start to complain about the humidity and heat in July but I just throw some ice onto the trampoline and tell them to have fun!

These are some of the ways that they keep themselves entertained.

1) Get dirty!

2.) Catch critters!

They are in constant pursuit of a frog, a lizard, or a dragon fly.  The poor snails aren’t fast enough and are often confined to snail city.

3.) Make fairy houses.

4.) Plant a garden.

They’ve grown tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes on their own.  They love to grow flowers and have great luck with zinnias.

 

5.) Create houses.

These were as a result of a Five In a Row unit that we had just covered about wigwams and turf huts.

6.) Ride bicycles.

Their bicycles usually have names, long manes, and live in stables.

7.) Jump on the trampoline, swing on their swings,  skate, and spin on their gym dandy teeter go round.

8.) Take pictures!

They photograph things that they find interesting.   These cameras have lasted for two years and provided endless hours of fun.

9.) Observe and study.

When they see something and need to identify it, they are quick to take out their animal or plant guides.  This makes my teacher heart happy!

I hope that we can delay the desire to be staring at a screen…….  Possibly forever!

What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?