Wednesday, January 27, 2016

No Spend Month...


I can't believe that January is almost over!  And that means that February is almost here and our annual No Spend February. It's our eighth year. I can't believe we've been doing it that long. I personally love it. Coming off the spending frenzy of the end of the year, it's a nice change for me. I am, quite frankly, done shopping. We have no birthdays, anniversaries, etc until June so I like the 'cold turkey' aspect of a no spend month.

What, exactly, does 'no spend' mean @ September Acres?

-No shopping -that means we won't roam the aisles of Target buying stuff we don't need & sometimes don't even want. No trips to Costco. Grocery shopping is okay but limited as we will try eating from the pantry this month. 

-No vacations - Easy Peasy as school is in. 

-No going out to eat - If we are invited to go out as a treat we will go but otherwise we don't. I've also been really slack with meal planning since Christmas so now's the time to get back in the swing of things.

-No movies, bowling, etc. - That's pretty easy for us, except I haven't seen "13 Hours" yet. I'll try to get that in this weekend while it's still January. ;)

We do have a hockey tournament later in the month but we knew it was coming and it's budgeted for. We just need to stay out of the mall and Target and we will be fine. 


So basically, no unnecessary spending. I think it's good for our bank account (the money we save goes into savings) & it's a good exercise for all of us to realize that we have so much and we should use/play with and enjoy it. I feel like sometimes we just buy, buy, buy and never really sit back and enjoy it.

I'd love to hear if you do this and how your family does it.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Getting things done...


This afternoon I was pondering the state of my house and thinking that I have so much to do to get it in order.  Then I rattled off in my head all of the things I got done today:

  1. Emptied the dishwasher
  2. Changed sheets on 2 beds
  3. Did 5 loads of laundry
  4. Vacuumed and dusted bedrooms & living room
  5. Organized items for hockey tournament raffle
  6. Paid some bills
Then I thought 'maybe I wasn't as unproductive as I thought I was'.  I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge list maker but maybe I should start.  Even though there's so much to do I did accomplish some kind of important things (this list doesn't mention the cooking or taxi driving service I run!) and it might be nice to see them crossed off a long list. 

Something else to ponder...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Breaking Busy...







I was lucky enough to be chosen to serve on the launch team for "Breaking Busy" by Alli Worthington.  I received my advanced copy of the book right around Thanksgiving - a little crazy but at the same time it was the perfect time to start reading a book about breaking busy since that is the time of the year that we all seem to be extra busy and maybe even take on more than we really want to.

The very first chapter is called 'Capacity'.  Boy, that was eye opening.  Alli compared us to our cell phones, which have a battery that gets depleted after use and has a 'finite capacity for storage and functionality'.  When our phone battery falls to 10% there's a little warning that the battery is low and needs to be recharged.  Our bodies do the same but how often do we listen to the signs and take the time to recharge?  For most of us the answer to that is 'not enough'.  We think we are too busy to take that time to rest.  After reading this book I have a different feeling on that subject. We all need energy to keep going - to give, share, love, work, play - and we need to take the time to replenish our energy.

                                             

As I worked my way through the next 9 chapters I was taken by how much this book spoke to me and how Alli seemed to know just what I was going through during this season of my life.  It's like she was peering through my windows.  But I think it's really that we are all very similar in our desire to please and nurture. Our husbands, our children, our extended families, our friends, our homes, our jobs.  


"Like it or not, every single decision we make takes us down the road closer to the destination that is our future."


I am a firm believer that everything in our life is the result of choices that we have made so I think, if I had to choose, the chapter on decisions was my very favorite.

There is so much to take away from this book especially for those in their busy season (wife, mom, friend, worker, PTA, Little League, Rotary). You will learn how to stop chasing activities that leave you empty and start doing what you were meant to do.  

I don't want to give away too much of the book and I could never say it as well as Alli does so I hope you'll go out and get yourself a copy on January 26th or better yet pre-order a copy  before Jan. 26 and get a free study guide here: http://alliworthington.com/breaking-busy-guide


This book was provided to me by the author and publisher in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year...

Well, hello there!  I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year.  It's hard to believe it is 2016, right?  Even weighing heavier on my mind is the fact that my daughter will be 14 next week. 14.  High school in 8 months. How did this happen?  Moms of younger kids: believe it when people tell you it goes fast.  So fast. Faster than you can imagine.  That, my friends, is an entire blog post.

Today though,  let's talk about decorating for winter.  I finally got my Christmas decorations down.



Oh, how I love that red and green and those sparkly lights.  Yes, I love it.  But after putting everything away I realized that I also  like that bare, sparse feeling and really considered not adding anything back.  I'm still thinking about it but who am I kidding?

I've been perusing the web looking for inspiration for winter decorating.  You know, not quite Valentine's Day but no longer Christmas.  I love using white, silver and natural wood.  I love the feel of this room from Pottery Barn.


Clean but still cozy.

I've also found some great inspiration at Liz Marie Blog.

Simple Winter Kitchen @ Liz Marie Blog
She has actually done an entire series on decorating after Christmas.  And I love her ideas.

So, give me a few days and I'll be back with what I've come up with to winterize our house until Valentine's decor comes out.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Beyond the Gift Card: Last Minute Gift Ideas



It's not quite last minute but when I was shopping this weekend I noticed things are really picked over (I'm talking to you Christmas sweaters at Target.)  And if you are truly a last minute shopper, many of the toys, electronics and clothing that are the HOT gifts this year will have been snapped up by the early birds.  But that doesn't mean that it's gift cards for everyone on your list.  In fact, this is about some fun, thoughtful and quick gift ideas to help you avoid the gift card abyss.

Photo Gifts and Books- There's still time to download your photos and make cute gifts for everyone on your list.  Walmart.com offers a few same day gifts: prints on canvas, calendars and photo books to name a few.  Download your photos online and pick up your personalized gifts today.  Snapfish also offers store pick up on some gifts at Walgreens.  Photo gifts look like you put much thought into what the recipient likes yet most sites are very user friendly and offer preset templates making it easy peasy.  The hardest part is picking out the perfect photo.

Wine/Liquor - And, don't just toss the bottle in a bag (although I wouldn't send anyone away if they did).  Add some wine or martini glasses (check the Dollar Tree before you hit the department stores), cheese & crackers or olives and you can put together a great gift. A drink kit is a fun idea, too.  Maybe for mimosas or rum and coke or a signature cocktail. The Red Rooster is always a hit around here.

Magazine Subscriptions - Buy the current issue of the recipient's favorite magazine and add a note saying that you have ordered a subscription for them.  Pop it in a cute gift bag with plenty of colorful tissue and ribbon and you're set. This is a gift that keeps on giving and you can do REALLY last minute (Christmas eve shopper?  This is for you).

Baked Goods - People love homemade goodies! I always keep baking supplies on hand and some tins and containers for homemade gifts.  A cute container and lots of ribbon makes for a pretty presentation.  A really fun idea is the ever popular Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls. Who wouldn't love to serve something delicious on the morning of December 25th? These make a great hostess gift as well.

Movies - These days, movie gifts go way beyond movie passes (remember, we're trying to avoid anything like a gift card and call them passes if you want but they're still gift cards).  The Dollar Tree is your friend with these cute popcorn buckets:
Fill these up with some microwave popcorn, sodas and candy along with a DVD or even a Neflix membership for a really fun family gift.  If you're lucky, the recipient will invite you to watch along!

School Supplies - If you're shopping for school aged kids this is a fabulous idea.  Any parent will tell you that by Winter break most of the supplies that were purchased in August are nearing the end of their usefulness. Things like glue sticks, pencils, markers and crayons. Even binders, folders and pencil cases look worse for the wear. Pick out some fun colors if you buy a binder or folder and some festive pencils and pens (Target's dollar spot has some cute ones now). All of these items can be picked up at the grocery store or dollar store very last minute.  

Plants and Flowers - Everyone loves a pretty plant or bouquet of flowers.  They're easy to pick up at the grocery store and most floral departments have a nice selection of vases.

What are your favorite last minute gift ideas?


Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's Novermber 30th, Is your Advent Calendar Ready?


December 1st can sneak up on us, can't it?  A late Thanksgiving can really throw me for a loop.  As in, December 1st is on Tuesday.  The Tuesday that is the day after tomorrow.  We have always had an advent calendar around here (or maybe even two) and most years I'm on top of things but this year, not so much.  So not on top of things that I bought our advent calendar last night. First time I've bought one. Ever.  With a 13, almost 14 year old I didn't feel so bad since she actually asked for this one and was thrilled I said yes. So, I've already put the guilt behind me.  But in the good old days gone by I would never have purchased an advent calendar.  I'm imagining it's November 30th and I don't have my calendar yet.  I've got the Elf on its Shelf but no Advent to be found.  What's a girl to do?

Christmas Book Countdown

I'll assume that you have all of your Christmas books handy. I loved this countdown when LM was younger.  Wrap 24 Christmas/Holiday/Winter books and each day have your kids unwrap one book to be read that day.  If you don't have enough books, check out thrift shops or hit the library (keep track of due dates though).  

Post -it Note Tree

London Mums Magazine



You could do this one 2 ways:  Write the date and something fun to do each day on a post it (trip to the park or library, bake cookies, watch a movie, etc.) and then place 24 notes in the shape of a tree (like above). Each day your children take off the note corresponding to the date and they get to partake in the activity of the day. You could also 'build' the tree each day - your child places the post on the wall (or window as shown above) and they will slowly see the tree come to life.

Dated Ornaments

A quick trip to the dollar store and you can have 24 Christmas ornaments to be placed on the tree.The last ornament could be a special one - maybe a star or manger scene.

Paper Chain

Remember those paper chains we made in grade school?  Bring them back as an Advent calendar. Like with the post-it tree you can either build it or take it apart.  Write an activity or bible verse on each chain.  

There's so much pressure on moms to create this perfect, magical Christmas for our families and sometimes there's just too much going on to get everything just right.  But we need to remember we do our best and our kids will remember whatever we do for them whether it's picture perfect or not. If we need to cut back on the extravagant Advent calendar and staple some red and green paper together then so be it.  Keep smiling and that's what will be remembered.

P.S.  If you want to burn the midnight oil and do something more elaborated I've got some great ideas here.


Monday, November 23, 2015

My Shop is Open...



I have opened a shop at Society 6.  I am super excited to share some of these fun holiday items with you!  There are pillows and prints and canvas and travel mugs.  Even clocks!  Head over and take a look.  I'd love to hear your feedback too.


I'm also open to your ideas - I have a bunch swirling around in my head but I love to hear what other people think and would like to see. I can do custom items too.  Or just switch out colors to match your decor.


These items make really fun and unique gifts.  And did I mention the free shipping?


I've ordered a few things from Society 6 in the past and have been happy with the quality and I'm sure you will be too.

I hope you'll head on over to the shop and take a look.  Thanks!