Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

To spend more time with family and friends who are visiting from out of town, I'm taking this week off from the blog. You'll still see me some on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so be sure to follow me there (I'm such a social media addict). Before I go, I want to share a special Thanksgiving post with you.

happy, thanksgiving, happy thanksgiving

Last year on Thanksgiving, I was still pregnant with baby B and my mother was in town to celebrate with us. Measuring 4 weeks ahead, I was huge. Baby B is approaching his first birthday rapidly. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. The year before, we spent the holiday with A's family out of state. Usually, we don't travel for Thanksgiving. I'm glad we did that year. We didn't know at the time, but would be the last time we'd see his mother. She passed away soon after from cancer. Three years ago, I was pregnant with M2. Five years ago, A and I were celebrating our first Thanksgiving as a married couple with his brothers. Over 15 years ago, Thanksgiving would be the last time I saw my aunt before she passed away in December. My parents, sister and I enjoyed turkey and all the fixing with extended family as my aunt was too sick to leave her bed. My grandmother was born around Thanksgiving as well. So many things have happened around Thanksgiving for our family, including those special last memories of loved ones. It's a time of both celebration and remembrance for me. I give thanks for my family, friends and for all those who have touched my life. All leave a footprint on my heart.

This year, so much has changed for my family. I give thanks for having a diagnosis for M2. For getting through despite new financial strain. For all the progress that's been made in getting her help. For baby B growing so big and strong. For 5 years of marriage to A. For our home and all the other many blessings we have.

So much has changed in the world as well. We face uncertain times in our country and across the globe. I am thankful for all the military personnel, many of whom won't be home with their own families for the holiday, who fight to protect us all.

As for you, my dear readers, I wish you all a wonderful holiday with friends and family. I wish you a day of peace and celebration for all which you are grateful. I am thankful for you all.
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Friday, November 20, 2015

17 Tips to Avoid Holiday Overspending Regret

Holiday shopping is here again. The wondrous time of year when your wallet takes a big hit and your budget is be blown if you're not careful with holiday spending. For us this year, finances are tighter than ever before so I have to be even more aware of what is being spent. Being a savvy shopper can mean the difference between paying the mortgage and putting food on the table come January or sitting there on New Year's Day saying, "What have I done??" while looking at a mound of credit card bills. Here are 17 easy tips to help you avoid Holiday Overspending Regret Syndrome come the new year. In case you haven't seen it already, check out my Holiday Gift Guide for Kids that is all items $20 and under. It'll help you stay on budget this year, too.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids for $20 and Under

Today's post is co-written by guest-poster Laurie.

It's that time of year again! No, not just groaning at having to let your belt out another notch. What to get the kids in your life without breaking the bank or the budget you set earlier in the year! It seems like there are so many pricey toys and electronics popping up all over commercials. Going to the store doesn't help us get ideas. For Laurie, it makes her more frustrated because her almost 5-year-old daughter still wants that overpriced Minnie Mouse shopping cart that she outgrew 2 years ago. For Melissa, she has a hard time deciding what to get because M2 isn't talking much and doesn't play with toys the same way most kids do. Both of us need to be very careful with spending this year, too, so we can't go crazy on overly expensive gifts.

If any of that sounds like you, here's something to help you out: A holiday gift guide for every age from baby through teens. It's sorted by age and includes a number of suggestions for each age. Even better, all the gifts $20 or under on Amazon. You don't even need to brave the stores, crowds and traffic to shop -- everything is delivered right to your door! Get free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Try Prime free for 30 days when you click here (affiliate).

Even if a particular item on the list doesn't sound like the perfect fit it's my hope it sparks the image of the perfect present to pop into your head.

Be sure to check out Melissa's tips on how to avoid Holiday Overspending Regret. Now, without further ado, here's The Stay-At-Home Life's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids. Happy gifting!

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dear Self: You're Good Enough

Since M2's diagnosis, we've had so much going on around here. Life has recently taken another turn that's had us getting used to a new normal. At the advice of her current therapists, I started the process to get her an EDCD Medicaid waiver in order to get an in-home aide to help out with her. I struggled with the decision to get the waiver and an aide. I struggled with whether or not I was a good enough mom because I needed help with her.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wading Through Motherhood Remembered

Earlier this week when I was visiting one of my mommy  blogger Facebook groups I came across a post I wasn't expecting to see. One of my fellow mommy bloggers, Melissa Matters from Wading Through Motherhood, passed away suddenly. She leaves behind a husband and two young children. Just a few days before, she had been blogging and posting on her Facebook page. In a matter of hours, she went from sharing cute pictures of her children to her children not having a mother any longer. Her kids didn't know that day that it was the last hug they'd get from mommy. Her husband didn't know it was the last time he'd hear her voice. Her death was completely unexpected and surprising. She wasn't old. She wasn't sick. There were no warning signs.

In remembrance of Melissa, in the Broadway tradition of dimming the lights, I'll be going dark here on the blog until Thursday. First, I want to honor her memory with a blog post.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Non-Messy Painting Crafts for Kids

Painting projects are a great way to make gifts for the holidays and to do fun every-day art. M2 has been using hers to make Christmas presents for her grandparents. She picked out a few wood frames at the craft store which she's painting herself. Once she's done, all I need to do is put in a picture of her and baby B to finish it off. The grandparents get an awesome personalized gift she made herself that they will love, she enjoyed making and that doesn't break the gift budget for me. For a fun fall craft, I let M2 paint a mini pumpkin and a wood cut out of a ghost as well.

M2 loves making these crafts and it helps her to learn colors and fine motor skills. But with a young kid paint can be a nightmare. It ends up all over the floor, clothes, the painter and sometimes even the walls. Basically, nothing in a 5-foot radius is safe when a young kid wields a paintbrush. With regular paint, I have to be right with her and watch every second or there is mess everywhere. Regular paints also lead to a long production of having to find brushes, plates to put the paint on, covering the table, covering M2, then cleaning the table, M2, brushes, and anything else the paint coats (most often the chair she sits in). She usually ends up staining her clothes as well. With the mini pumpkin, I'd been wanting to let her do it but dreaded having paint dripping off the pumpkin and all over everything. Kwik Stix has been an awesome solution to all these problems.

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