Nifty vs. Thrifty

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Great Cyber Monday Deal

You all know how much I love books and love to encourage children to read as well. Here are 2 awesome books that I think your kids will love at a great price only today!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Children go crazy for this series which is well written and very fun!

Guinness Book of World Records 2011
Don't you remember reading this as a kid and being so amazed? This is such a cool book that your child and you can share together on Christmas morning!

These books and more of mine and Sienna's favs are on my Amazon store:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is it ok to Use Santa as a Bribe?

Using Santa's gifts as an incentive for good behavior is very tempting this time of year. The question is, can threatening Santa's visit be a bad thing? Well, first of all, don't make promises you can't keep (IE. "If you are bad, Santa will not come!") Making those kinds of threats are unrealistic and not a fair punishment for bad behavior. Instead, focus on the true spirit of the holiday. If we focus too much on Santa and presents than we might be sending our children the message that presents are what's most important about the holiday. Instead, donate your time to a nearby organization or visit a nearby nursing home with your children to spend time with the residents or even sing some Christmas Carols. In my opinion, using Santa as an incentive is not a bad thing, as long as you are clear and don't make promises you can't keep. Encourage good choices by saying something like,"Remember, Santa is watching you!" but don't loose focus that these choices are good because it's the right thing (not just because Santa is watching!) In addition, Christmas is a great opportunity to read bible stories and learn about the true spirit of giving! The bottom line...encouraging good behavior for Santa's arrival here and there is OK but make sure you all also teach your children all the other reason to make good choices and the true spirit of giving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Random Thoughts on Thanksgiving Morning

Well, I wasn't planning on writing today (thanksgiving morning) but I just put Sienna down for nap, hubby and house guests are out playing Turkey Day football and I am here all alone enjoying quiet moments by the fire. How sweet it is!

I talk about simplicity parenting quite a bit and Thanksgiving is the perfect day to truly practice it! I find myself sometimes getting worked up about family issues around the holidays (don't we all!?) wondering why people do things a certain way and the truth's all just little stuff. I think about the people around the world who don't have a home, suffering with illnesses, and deaths, and I am reminded that I have so many blessings! In addition, I have many faults as well

Thanksgiving is a time to be truly grateful, put aside resentments, and focus on the savory food, the wonderful smells and the sweet sound of laughter. Hope you enjoy this wonderful day my awesome readers!

Check out this great tradition for Thanksgiving dinner...

Don't throw out the wishbone!! Hold the wishbone with a partner, make a wish, and whoever has the biggest part after the bone is broken will have their wish come true!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hosting a Memorable Thanksgiving Dinner

1. If you are expecting children to come to your house, be prepared for them. Have a small table, some coloring books and small toys (maybe from the dollar store), and be prepared for a noisy evening!

2. Prepare as much food as you can the day before (that's today if anyone is paying attention!) so that you can spend time with your guests. Many people think that being a great hostess means having the best food but the truth is, being a great hostess means being able to entertain them and provide a relaxed atmosphere. Remember, not everything needs to be fancy!

3. Delegate. People love to help out. Plan ahead and try to visualize how you can organize the day/evening. What will you need help with the most. If your children are little, ask someone to color with them (break out a Christmas toy early if you need to!) or hire a mommy's helper for a few hours.

4. Leave dishes. The dishes will not rot. A good hostess will let the dishes sit and spend quality time with the family. Better yet, use paper plates!!
5. Enjoy yourself. Relax and enjoy this special time with friends and family. Plus, happiness is contagious and your guests will feel more at ease if you are having fun!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Most Magical Gifts for Your Family

I don't believe that the magic of Christmas is created by what's under the tree. Instead, I believe that the true magic is what's created around the tree! Here are some special, fun, and family oriented gifts to make this Christmas the best one your kids have ever had!

1. Hobby related gifts Children find joy in things when they see us enjoying it! Share your love of trains, puzzles, or doll houses with your child. Whatever the skill or hobby that you enjoy, share your enthusiasm with you children! They will love having something that has a special connection to you.

2. Arts and crafts I distinctly remember getting my Spin Art Machine for Christmas and how much fun I had playing with it for hours and hours (they still make it by the way... it is listed on my amazon store link...

Some people think that arts and crafts aren't for everyone but I disagree. I think everyone can find an artistic talent and enjoy making different things with different materials if they have someone helping and encouraging them!

3. Wii or Playstation These games are truly the ultimate game for family and friends of all ages. We have had so much fun with our wii and there are a gazillion games for all interests. From bowling to surfing, it's seriously hard to find a game for everyone! There is even boggle Yahtzee and battleship for some old school fun!

4. Musical Instruments or Rockband for Playstation I love music! My husband's family comes from a very musical family and I love how they enjoy sitting around singing together for hours on end. I realize this is not for everyone but Rockband usually appeals to most people! Gotta love it!

Not able to spend that kind of cash or don't have a Playstation or Wii? No worries! Check out some of the karaoke games on CD rom that are really reasonably priced and SOOO much fun!

5. Jewelry If you have a daughter and you want her to have a special piece of jewelry, start this great tradition. My friends went together and started the beginning of a pearl necklace for Sienna and the cool thing about it is that you can add them on special occasions. This is such a meaningful gift that I LOVE!
5. Ice Cream maker What family doesn't love ice cream. Engage your family with this fun activity with such a yummy product to share! Check out this one on my Amazon store page

6. Special Books Find one of your favorite books as a child and give it to your child with a special message on the inside cover. This will be a treasure for years to come.

Looking for other meaningful gifts for your family? God to my Amazon store and search for every unique gift idea you can think of using age groups or special interests. You'll be sure to find the perfct gift at a reasonable price!

And of course, here's a few gifts YOU should ask for Christmas!

1. The Special Plate (which I have written about in a previous post) is one of my favorite gifts and I'm sure you would love it too.

2. A fun family board game is always a crowd pleaser and what could bring you more pleasure than spending hours of quality time with your family? Check out, then click on Toys and Games, then click on Top Family Board Games. Here, you will find a great list for you to choose from (based on the customer's favorites!)

3. Want to give back to others this holidays season? Here's a program that allows you to donate money to a Mom in Mozambique that is striving to start a business to feed her children. How cool is that? Check it out here Ask your family to make a donate for you and give you a certificate for recognition!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Perfect, Simple Thanksgiving Recipe

This recipe is so yummy and easy! You will have everyone asking for the recipe!

(tastes like pumpkin pie!)


1 40 oz. can of yams

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 stick of butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375. Mix togehter ingredients. Pour into casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes. You'll see cracks in the yams when they are done cooking! SIMPLY TASTY!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Being the CEO of your Household

Being a Stay at Home mom is definetly not an easy job! One thing that I find extremely helpful to stay happy as a Stay at Home mom is to view my stay at home status as a profession. The word profession is defined as a job that has duties and results in a payment or a return of some kind. Technically, if I wasn't at home with our daughter, we would be paying for childcare so in a way, I am being reimbursed in the big picture. Not only that, but my reimbursement is watching my daughter smile, give hugs, and learn new things.

When I see my stay at home mom role as a job, I am better able to handle stressors and stay professional. I know that the word professional sounds weird but it is really important to not take things personally and stay focused on the responsibilities at hand. As much as I love being able to give my daughter hugs and kisses all the time (and I do!) it's nice to also step away and just do my job!

Next, any CEO of a successful company will tell you that organization is very important. Your home is no different and needs to have systems, goals, and rewards.

Having goals as a stay at home mom can help you to stay focused.
Having a schedule is SOOOOO important. My schedule is pretty flexible but I definitely prioritize eating and sleeping times for the kiddos. Having a schedule is very important for helping everyone understand what is expected of them and when and even help us to stay focused. Children respond very well to routine and time frames.

Create a support system for yourself.

This is SOOOO important and is so often overlooked! In any job setting, people have mentors, supervisors, and should too! Set yourself up with a friend that you respect and admire and make you set up times to talk to them about issues and struggles or just listen as they go through the same things you do. I am really big on scheduling (on the calendar) 'moms night out' or dinners with a friend at LEAST once every 2 weeks...this can really be a sanity saver!

Take a Personal Day

If you work hard during the day, accomplishing your goals, and keeping a happy healthy home then you should have no guilt about taking a day to yourself. Every job as personal days and you should too!

Get out of your sweatpants.

Every office has a dress code to make people appear and feel professional. There's the old saying that you should "dress the part" if you want to succeed at something. Sometimes it's the little things that can help you feel more important and give you motivation throughout your day. Get out of your sweatpants and put on something that makes you feel like you look nice and it might be enough to help you feel good about yourself when you walk past the morror. (by that I mean jeans and a sweater-let's be real!)

Picture yourself as the person you want to become. If being a stay at home mom is something you truly want, take the time to create the role you wish to attain and set yourself up with all the tools you need to make it happen!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Playing in the leaves.....


and kisses.....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting Your Love On

Check out this awesome guest writer we have today!
Michele Paiva has worked as an author, radio host, yoga instructor, and wellness coach. I am so excited to have her share her ideas with my readers....hope you enjoy!

This is the time of year when though we claim to be festive more than ever, we are actually a society filled with increased depression, stress, anxiety and weight gain.

Lead with your heart, and get your love on...

Not love for others-you are probably focusing too much on making others happy right now and that is what got you into this mess (or what WILL get you into that mess!). Instead, focus on loving yourself more. Take yourself to the next level; instead of focusing externally focus internally. Transform your anxiety and stress to energy, and banish depression and combat weight gain with commitment to yourself.

Think about your past, and heal your childhood and relationship wounds so that you can activate undeveloped potential and increase your ability to cope, love yourself, and thus handle the holiday season with an embrace not a grimace.

It sounds elementary, and it is; but it is often overlooked. We say things like "make time for yourself" as if one need to schedule sanity into our hectic life....that shouldn't be the way it is! You should be focused on your time all the time, and make time for OTHERS!

Schedule others - yes even your children.

I am a homeschooling mother of two; one is in college, the other in 11th grade. I love them with all my heart but I also have boundaries, and those boundaries are respected and learned, and they too focus on helping themselves before reaching out to help another. I am all for that attitude.

Most people who are very at peace and happy with simple are able to walk away or deflect that behavior, but those who are less at peace, are more vulnerable to this, and so the cycle continues within themselves. When you focus on your own needs and meet them (and trust me, a lot men and women really need to not feel guilt on this one!) you will harness energy that is second to none.

When you are stressed or depressed you are not as strong, even immunity-wise, it is easier to catch a cold or flu, and to catch a "mood", in that I mean you will if stressed or depressed, be more likely to absorb someone else's negative emotions or cranky outlook, even their tension.

It's really all about focus.

One way to really show the day down, increase potassium (which is so important when speaking about stress) and give yourself some aroma therapy as a boost, it is simply to make this recipe. Share it with others but first, and foremost, have some for YOU!!
Michele's Oat-Pumpkin Autumn LOVE-ON....served warm ;)
A small can of pumpkin filling or puree
Three cups of oat milk (you may use more if you have more of a crowd, it will just be less thick but still packed with flavor)
A pinch of salt (I use ionized since I don't eat seafood much and I want to ensure thyroid health)
A pinch of Cinnamon
A pinch of Clove
A dash of Vanilla
Mix all of the above well and then put on stove on medium heat, stirring frequently, until steam rises.
Serve warm.
This recipe is healthy, increases focus and relaxation, celebrates the season, and it's a great way to show yourself a little love!
Have an idea for stress reduction you want to share?? Post and share

Friday, November 5, 2010

Saving Money for the Holidays

What is the best way to save money for your family? Cutting coupons, finding sales and shopping at yard sales are great ways to curb spending but it is still "money out" instead of money that we could be keeping in our pockets.

Winter is approaching and we often think about recharging our cold spirits by buying a new latte at Starbucks, going to the spa, or having dinner out with our friends. All of these things are great, but think of how much space they take in our budget. If we can truly find enjoyment in ourselves than we will REALLY save big bucks while teaching our children to not be materialistic and find enjoyment in the simple things in life.

If we turn on the t.v or look in our children's classrooms, we will quickly see how materialistic our society has become. I admit, I am constantly challenged by trying to avoid shopping for the latest shoes or fantasizing about going to the nicest spa for a pedicure. But if we really try to focus on creating the greatest MEMORIES, we can quickly learn that the best things in life really are free! Here's an example.

As mothers, finding time to relax and unwind is priceless, right? Here's an idea for you that doesn't cost a dime. Find a quiet, relaxing space in your home to call your own (a favorite chair, the bath tub, or even in bed if you find that relaxing) Set up a little area with a favorite candle, prepare a cup of tea and put on your favorite p.js. Sound inviting yet? Good, I'm not finished!

Next, I want you to find a favorite magazine or book and take half an hour (or more!) to just have YOU time. Recharge your battery and energize your soul! Think about the money you are saving by creating a mommy moment without shopping or spending on dinner out, manicures, etc.! Don't get me wrong, there are definitely times when a mom should splurge on herself- but using moderation and finding thrills in your own home will not only save you money but help you find balance during difficult times (especially those times when you don't have money!)