Archive | November, 2012

Getting the Ball Rolling.

2 Nov

So long sweet October.   ::Sigh:: I sure hate that October flew by so fast. We were sick most of the month too. So frustrating. Even my miniscule “Fall Bucket List” didn’t get completed. But we did get to go to the Railroad Museum Halloween Party and we got to check out a Halloween Party at the Y. So it wasn’t a total loss. We could have crossed off the hay hack ride from our list, if we could have waited in the long line at the Railroad Party, but Rory is dealing with a cold and an ear infection, so we needed to keep the adventure short. Now, it is November, sad, lonely November. But at least there is Thanksgiving! We already have Bill’s side of things figured out. So now we need to figure out what my side is going to do. Would like to head down their way so that the kids can also see their Great-Grandma, but we’ll see.

We’re also jumping right into Christmas gift prep. Since we’re changing the way we think about toys and the kinds we want for our kids, it takes some research. I know it sounds silly, but nowadays, stores just shove the most expensive “hottest” item down your throats and tell you what your kids will like. And in the past we’ve blindly agreed.  But now, we’re trying to put more thought into what we buy. Not just the newest and “coolest” but stuff that will actually interest the kids for years to come. I know it sounds crazy but if you put some thought into it and change your game plan you can actually find toys and activities that will grow with your kids! One item that springs to mind that everybody loves is legos. Our lego table is a great investment. It gets played with nearly every day, and as they grow older, we will change it from a duplo version to the regular version and the kids will play with it for years. The marble run Max got for his birthday is going to be another great toy that both kids will play with for years. Already when it has been set up, Max has sat for 30+ min with the marble run playing. And as he figures out how to re-configure it, I can only imagine he’ll play with it more and more.

Another thing, is getting to know your kids. And lately I’ve been trying to pay more attention to what Max likes. And he likes books, puzzles, drawing, “homework”…things like that. He isn’t into “playing” with his toys so much. Not to say he doesn’t have a healthy imagination. Because he does, he likes to dress up and pretend that way and of course football and wrestling around, running, jumping and climbing. Rory, on the other hand, is currently very much into “playing” with her toys. She plays with her dollhouse, and has been playing with Max’s Joker play-set he got for his birthday way more than he has. She has been changing her babies’ diapers a lot lately too. And of course anything Max is doing, she’ll do.

My plan for the kids’ toys and playroom, is to build up a nice collection of “open-ended” toys and activities that will grow with the kids, and keep up with the “newness” of them by adding new “things” to them as we go. For example, Bill just got cracking on the components for the light table and did some price checking on the plexi-glass. When all is said and done the light table shouldn’t cost us more than $175(and that is giving some leeway for the table). I know it sounds like a lot, but if we were to buy the type and size of light table we are going to make, we could spend at least $400. And that isn’t including the supplies you need to go with it. So it is most definitely a bargain. First we are going to get Magnatiles, the smaller set of 32 and some translucent pattern blocks, just to start out. Then come April, we will add either more Magnatiles or Prism Bricks or a translucent Marble Run. Plus a few other activities you can do with the light table with stuff found around the home- like Baking soda, vinegar and food coloring. And we can add new parts to the light table every so often so they have choices. Same goes for the sensory table. Then once we have a nice collection built up, we don’t have to worry so much about toys. The kids can get a new toy and we can put the rest of the “gift” money towards a family trip. My idea is that, the kids would have more fun opening a gift or two, and then going to Nickelodeon Universe to ride some rides and see Spongebob, or going to a water park in the winter time. I think it would be cool if we could do stuff like that and make memories like that instead of wasting money on plastic toys that the kids won’t even remember 20 years from now. The ultimate goal would be to pick a place overseas and go. Maybe go see some castles, or I don’t know… that goal is still at least a decade away, but that is what I have in mind.

So, that is my plan… my goal. I really hope we can do it!

Continuing. The Sensory table will cost far less than the light table. we will need a new bin/tub though. The one we were going to use, has a crack in the bottom, which hasn’t been an issue with the cloud dough, but if I were to put in water, then it would be a different story. And then we’ll start our collection of stuff for the sensory bin. Things like, flour, cornstarch, veggie/baby oil, vinegar, baking soda, food coloring, glue, shaving cream… all of which aren’t nearly as expensive as the supplies for the light table, so it is a perfect match to go along with it. The light table and the sensory table will be their 2 “big” and shared gifts. As for their “own” gifts, we’re thinking a real dollhouse for Rory. That Disney Little People Princess one looks perfect. And for Max, an Imaginex Batcave. I know he hasn’t been playing with his Joker Fun-house thing, and maybe a Batcave will help or not. Maybe Rory will just end up playing with it too and Max will end up playing with the Tables more. In the end I’m confident it will work out.

Bill got me a journal for our anniversary. And for the past month I’ve felt bad for not writing in it because I haven’t known what exactly to write in it, but I found a great use for it. I’m going to jot down all of my ideas in it. I have a TON of pins on pinterest that just sit there, because we just don’t have the items on hand to do most of them. And when I’m out and about, I don’t have a way to access pinterest to find out what I need. So I took some time yesterday to do just that. I wrote down some things I would like to do (especially since winter is right around the corner) and started a list of things we need to get in order to do these things. And then when I go out to do errands I can stop by the store and pick up a few things in order to do some of these activities! Genius… er not really but I feel like it.  Also have storage ideas I want for the play room and the craft area, gift ideas… and hopefully I’ll be able to add to it! Yay!

I came up with a budgeting idea the other night. I’ve heard and read just briefly about this “envelope” system of budgeting. Basically you divide up your money into envelopes according to your bills. So if your car payment is $250, then you put $250 in that envelope and don’t touch it except to pay for your car payment. Everything has its own envelope! But since all but 1 of our bills is electronic, I thought we could do it a bit differently. Instead we just take out “X” for food money, “X” for fun money and “X” for take out money and “X” for savings/just in case money, and put it in the safe and don’t touch it or the money in the bank. So I think we are going to try that and see how it goes.

I’m trying to stop using all of us being sick as an excuse to slack off. So let’s get moving!