Tuesday, May 11, 2010
This year has been an odd one. Money has never been tighter but we are still trying to give our kids everything we have promised them. This month it is our son’s seventh birthday party. Months ago he told us he wanted to have a Star Wars birthday party. Great, we can do that. We started saving money, and buying things we would need to have the party at home.
We have spent month’s slowly buying items for the grab bags, a few dollars here, and a few dollars there. We have spent way more than we expected and still don’t feel like we are ready. We have 24 grab bags and don’t think it is going to be enough. We have 20 kids confirmed and a possible 16 more. My son wants to invite his friends from his sister’s daycare. He showed up and gave one kid an invite. The other kids saw it so now I feel I have to give them invites as well. That would be another 20 kids invited. I am kind of scared to invite them, but our rule is not to invite one of a group but the entire group. No child should feel unwanted or unwelcome. If it comes to more kids then 24 we will just give smaller grab bags. All the kids will not get the same things but that is ok.
Last year we invited over 60 kids and had 18 show-up at the party, most of them our neighbour’s kids. Quite a few of them were unexpected. But that was ok because we planned for 20 kids and parents. Some of them did not have gifts and that was ok with us as well. One little girl asked if she could still be at the party even if she did not have a gifts, of course. We know what it is like to not have money to buy a gift. We don’t invite lots of kids for lots of gifts. We want the kids to be there having a good time, all the kids not just the ones that can bring gifts.
This year we only invited about 30 kids and most of them are coming. Strangely enough we actually had parents from the party last year ask if they could come to this one even though our kids are not in the same class this year. I guess that is a good sign that people like our idea of a party. If the weather is nice it is outside in the complex’s park that is so nicely placed right out our back door. We have crafts, games and just let the kids run around and have fun. There are no fancy tables, just Mexican blankets on the ground creating a picnic area. It is about fun and letting the kids be kids.
It is a good thing we have a small freezer. When the local No Frills had their dollar sale we bought lots of hotdogs and froze them. We were able to buy three packages for the usual price of two.
We found a great meat store, with a good price on lean hamburger. I have found it saves us a lot of money to make our own burgers instead of buying pre-made frozen burgers. With an $11 package of hamburger, eggs, some bread crumbs and seasoning I can make 24 adult sized burgers, even more when I am making kids sized burgers. It just takes a little time and effort, and not much of that really.
It was funny last year at our son’s party the adults could not get enough of the burgers I made. A couple of people said they had never had burgers like that before. They just never made their own. Homemade burgers are much better then mass-produced frozen burgers. All we have to do now is buy the buns and make the cup cakes.
Every year we make dozens of cup cakes and then let the kids put their own toppings on them. We make sure there are lots of different candies and sprinkles to put on the cup cakes. It leads to some very interesting cup cakes, and a lot of happy kids.
We are keeping the food simple and easy. The only decorations we have this year are balloons and streamers left over from last year. The kids are to bring their lightsabres if they have them. If not we can share. We do have a big table full of crafts for the kids to do. Games are set up inside. We have the Clone war movie if it rains.
It is going to be a good party even if we end up with more kids than expected. They will have fun and that is what it is all about.
The other good thing is that by doing the party the way we do it, we can afford to. We don’t have to pay for a space, or food. We are not looking at $12 to $15 per kid so they can bowl or watch a movie. We can have 30 or more kids and spend between a $100 to $150 instead of that for 10 kids.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I am finding that I just cannot watch some shows anymore. I love shows like CSI and 48 hrs. However I am finding I just cannot watch the shows that involve children, either as victims or killers. There are enough “bad” things happening to children that I don’t need to see it as part of my entertainment. Yes I still enjoy mysteries and seeing how police solve crimes. I just don’t have the stomach or the heart to deal with children being killed even in a TV show. It hurts me to see children being harmed or killed, even as part of a fictional story line.
My real problem is that I know what is being shown on TV is just a reflection of what is going on in real life. Children are being harmed and even killed by those who should protect them, their family, teachers, friends and neighbours.
My husband kids me that I am a big softy when it comes to kids. I am. What I don’t understand is why everyone else does not react the same way. It has become so common place, children being harmed and killed, that it is no longer shocking in the news or a TV show. It has become just another part of life, or death. I don’t expect things to change, but I will not watch shows that have it as part of the plot line anymore. I don’t stand on some moral high ground, or believe I am a better person for not watching the shows. I just cannot watch them without crying and becoming sick to my stomach. It is simply easier for me to change the channel or turn the TV off.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Often the children of the extreme rich or over achievers do not have the drive or abilities that their parents do. It does not mean that they are not capable; they just don’t have the need to improve their lives and there for do not try. Other people fight for everything they have. Not all of them succeed, but most of them have more drive than anyone who has never had any need to try. Those that succeed by our standards, wealth or achievement, often surprise people with their humble and often poverty controlled beginnings. Only people who have the passion and drive truly achieve something that makes them stand out. Genetics do not dictate who will have drive, passion, determination and break out of the “average” mould into the astronomical success most of us don’t even dream about.
If people who believe in Eugenics had their way only the perfect children would be accepted. Many “imperfect” children or children of imperfect parents would be brainwashed into believing they could never become or achieve anything of value. This would have resulted in many of the discoveries, creations, and people who have had huge impacts on our lives today to have never been. All because someone told them they could never do anything. Beethoven and Albert Einstein are perfect examples, they would never have been considered perfect and yet they both stand out in history.
So next time you think about telling a child or anyone actually, that they are no good and will never be anything, don’t. You never know what they will not do simply because you told them they could not do it. The cure for Cancer, AID’s, or even the common cold could be lost. All because someone discouraged instead of encouraged.
Monday, May 3, 2010
My daughter is quite happy to make me something for Mothers Day. She loves to paint, draw and glue. Mothers Day is just another opportunity to create something.
My husband on the other hand wants to do something for me for Mothers Day. He wanted us to go out for dinner like we did last year. It is just not going to happen. This year we need to do Mothers Day on a Budget.
For me it is ok that we are not doing much. Mothers Day does not have to involve money. The point behind Mothers Day is to show appreciation, not buy things. There are many things I would love to have my family do for me on Mother’s Day. I am sure there are many things every Mother can think of that they would love on their Celebrate Mothers Day on a Budget list.
Here is my Celebrate Mothers Day on a Budget list:
- Let me sleep in and have a shower without everyone trying to talk to me at the same time.
- Handmade crafts – cards, pictures, jewellery and more. I love that my kids want to make me something. I try to show appreciation for their effort and that I value anything they make for me. Sometimes it can be difficult letting them be creative, but once the mess is all cleaned up it is worth it. I like things that I am able to use or put up where people can see. I am thinking about getting them to paint rocks for the edge of my flower garden. I am expecting cards and painted flower pots again.
- Dinner – This would involve the kids helping Dad make dinner, set the table and clean up after. It may be something small but it lets my kids feel as if they have done something important and valuable for me.
- Cake or cookies – This is something that we have the mix for and with Dad’s help they would have a lot of fun making. They could decorate them as they like. It would be fun to see what they make.
Small and simple are what I want. I already know it is too much to ask that they don’t make a mess, no fighting, or to clean the house. For me Mothers Day is not about me getting something but giving my kids a chance to show me they love me, and I love them.
If we had the money there are a lot of things I would love but I would not give up my children’s handmade gifts for them.